The Davis Companies, a Boston real estate development firm, filed an application Nov. 10 to build about 528 apartments and condos across three buildings, a hotel and a path connection to the Charles River.
The development will occupy the area of 1234-1240 Soldiers Field Road, the site of the former Boston Skating Club building that The Davis Cos. bought for $26.25 million in 2018. The project was first proposed in January 2020 and has gone through two years of public review and comment.
“It was kind of sad to me. There were just blocks taken down to put up new apartments,” said Jeremy Feininger, a Boston University alum who lived in Allston for two years. “It does make me a bit sad to see local businesses going down for more gentrified apartments.”
Allston residents and several members of the project’s impact advisory group submitted comments and opposition toward the project a few months after it was presented.
Some members of the Impact Advisory Group described the size of the project as an “unacceptable height and density for the neighborhood and the community” and the number of affordable housing units as “bare minimum.”
Albert Saiz, associate professor of urban economics and real estate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the development is needed as the area has been “relatively disconnected” due to I-90 and its position in the city.
In light of the opposition from residents, Saiz said it’s a matter of “how we can do it in a way that improves the lives of people who live there, rather than just say no to the development.”
“[Creating these reduce] the pressures of gentrification on other neighborhoods that we’re gentrifying,” Saiz said. “If you don’t build there, that means that the middle and upper middle income people are going to move somewhere else and displace other people, because there’s a fixed supply.”
The development aims to meet the City of Boston’s Inclusionary Development Policy that sets requirements for the affordability of new housing. Mayor Michelle Wu launched an 11-member committee to study the potential of increasing the rate of affordable housing from 13% to 20% in April.
The Davis Cos. plans to start construction by the end of next year, but that plan is subject to change as the project is currently under review. IAG meets Nov. 30 and the Boston Planning & Development Agency is accepting public comments until Dec. 27.